Kevin Phelan will look to carry momentum from his top-five finish at Carton House into the European Amateur Championships into this week’s Home Internationals.
Phelan was the highest-placed Irishman in the prestigious strokeplay event over the par-72 Montgomerie Course but his final-round 71 was eclipsed by Rhys Pugh of Wales, whose closing 66 gave him victory at 11 under par, one shot ahead of compatriot James Frazer.
The win gives Pugh, the 2011 Irish Amateur champion, entry into the 2013 British Open Championship at Muirfield and next year’s Irish Open, also at Carton House, having started the day eight shots behind 54-hole leader Pontus Widegren of Sweden.
Widegren started bogey, double bogey, bogey to leave Portugal’s Goncalo Pinto in a three-stroke lead. But Pugh emerged from the chasing pack as others struggled in the gustier conditions, his 66 featuring an eagle at the par-five 15th, six birdies and two bogeys as Pinto, who had carded three successive 68s, closed with a 76.
Frazer completed the Welsh one-two. Having posted a course-record 62 in the third round, he followed with a 71 to leave him at 10 under, missing out on a play off when his 20-foot eagle putt at the last came up an inch short.
Denmark’s Thomas Sorenson finished third on nine under and Waterford Castle’s Phelan tied fourth on eight with Pinto and Widegren (77).
Phelan will head to Glasgow Gailes for the Home Internationals, starting Wednesday, satisfied with his closing 71.
“Around par or under par was good going for today, it was a much different course,” Phelan said. “The tees were all the way back and 10 and 11 into the wind were really hard. It was a tough day.
“I played quite well all day, missed a couple of putts on nine and 11 but overall I played pretty well, just didn’t hole enough putts today.
“I’d be happy enough going into the Home Internationals, need to carry on and just keep going. The lads can play well too so we’ve got a chance.”
Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan was tied for 25th on one under and the 21-year-old East of Ireland champion will also be looking forward to Glasgow Gailes having posted an amateur course record-equalling five-under-par 66 there two months ago in the strokeplay stages of the British Amateur.
That was won by Rathmore’s Alan Dunbar who had a closing 79 that left him two over for the week, with Paul Dunne (74) on four over and Geoff Lenehan (78) at five over.
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